Phra Pathom Chedi
Phra Pathom Chedi
Naphra Road, Tambon Phra Prathom Chedi, Nakhon Pathom - Bangkok ( Nakhon Pathom )
 
08:00 - 17:00 - $   | View Events
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Phra Pathom Chedi

Phra Pathom Chedi, which means the First Stupa, is located inside the Wat Phra Pathommachedi Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan in Nakhon Pathom, one of the oldest cities in Thailand, just 55 south of Bangkok. The impressive structure with its height of 127 meters is the tallest Buddhist chedi in the world; its orange roof is visible to several Km away. The chedi is one of the most sacred and important temple for the buddhists in Thailand, and it is considered the oldest Buddhist structure in the Kingdom. Its construction dates back to around the 3rd century BC, built in the area where Buddhism was first introduced into Thailand, more of two thousand years ago. According to eminent historians in the 3rd century BC the Indian Emperor Ashoka, who ruled most of the Indian subcontinent, sent Buddhist monks in many areas of Asia to expand Buddhism, among them was including the area that is Nakhon Pathom in present day. A first Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Pathom, had been built in Nakhon Pathom around the year 325 BC, the Phra Pathom chedi was built probably around the year 200 BC., for preserve some sacred relics of Buddha brought from monks. Historians believe that the Phra Pathom chedi was one of the principal stupas of ancient Nakhon Pathom, the largest settlement of Dvaravati culture in Thailand. The original structure is believed was modeled to be similar at Great Stupa in Sanchi, India. A Prang in a Khmer style was added on top during the 11th century AD, when the Khmer Empire had extended its the territories until Nakhon Pathom. Khmer domination ended when Anawrahta, of Pagan Kingdom, invaded and plundered the ancient Nakhon Pathom.  The population as a result of what left the city, to move to the nearby town of Nakhon Chai. The place of worship and the stupa were abandoned, and later overgrown by the jungle. During the 19th century A.D. King Mongkut, in his monastic period, visited the remains of the place of worship and chedi several times. The chedi at that time was in poor condition and, once Mongkut ascended the throne in 1851, ordered the restoration of the temple and its Phra Pathom Chedi. Near the chedi Mongkut also built a palace named Pathom Nakorn Palace, for overnight when him coming from Bangkok. The original stupa was covered with a huge new chedi, Sri Lanka style. The work lasted 17 years and was completed in 1870, during the reign of his successor, King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. The original smaller stupa still exists, covered by the great structure of the 19th century. Chulalongkorn added belfries and cover the whole stupa with shiny golden brown ceramic tiles imported from China. In 1898 Rama V ordered to population of nearby Nakhon Chaisi to return Nakhon Pathom.The impressive chedi has height of 127 meters, from base to tip, with a base of 233 meters surrounded by a courtyard with four Viharns, each containing images of Buddha in different postures. Viharn to north, the main entrance to the chedi, contains the Phra Ruang Rodjanarith, a large gold-plated statue of standing Buddha, 7.20 meters high. The image, whose full name is Phra Sri Indraditya Ruang Rodjanarith Dhammobhas Mahavajiravudh Raj Poojaneeya Bophit, was restored by Prince Vajiravudh, Rama VI's future, severely damaged by a statue found in a land in Muang Sri Satchanalai, Sukhothai, in 1909. Of the original statue only the head, hands and feet were in good condition. The ashes of Rama VI, his consort Suvadhana and his daughter Bejaratana are stored at the base of the statue. The Western Viharn contains a large Phra Non, image of the Reclining Buddha. Near the temple complex there is the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum, which is definitely worth a visit. The museum contains an interesting display of artefacts found during excavations in Nakhon Pathom, including stone carvings and Buddhist relics, some of which date back to Dvaravati period.
Admission fee & Opening hours: The temple complex is open Wednesday-Sunday from 09:00 until 17:00. Admission fee is 40 THB. Museums is open daily from 08:00 until 16:30, except Mondays and Tuesdays and National holidays.
Getting there: The chedi is located on Naphra Road in the centre of Nakhon Pathom, a little over one Km south-east of the railway station, 55 km from Bangkok city. Multiple daily train services from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station will get you there in around 1½ hours. Buses to Nakhon Pathom go every 10 minutes from the Sai Tai Taling Chan, the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal, and leave from 04:00 until 21:30, a one-hour trip. Vans are also available from the Victory Monument in central Bangkok, which stops directly at the chedi. For those who have owned or rental vehicle from Bangkok is recommended follow Petchakasem Road, the Asian Highway AH2, or the new Highway 338, the distance is about 55 Km for both.
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